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Biological Sciences
We perform Biological Systems Science research using prediction and experimentation to understand the design of biological systems, translating the genome to functional capabilities for applications to energy, environment, and health. Microbial community research at PNNL is focusing on environment and energy processes, and rational design and development of new bioprocesses, while our health-related research is centering on how multicellular systems, tissues and organisms respond to disease and exposure to the environment.

Nature Paper Provides Insight to Microbial Life in Permafrost

As the Arctic warms, tons of carbon locked inside Arctic tundra will be transformed into greenhouse gases CO2 and methane, but scientists know little about how that transition takes place. Scientists looking at microbes in Arctic soil now have a new picture of permafrost life that reveals new species and hints that subzero microbes might be active. Their study, in the March 4 issue of Nature, will help researchers better understand when and how frozen carbon might get converted into methane.



Artist's interpretation of multiscale model

Simulating Across Scales

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Central Florida developed a unified multiscale model that uses a single set of equations to simultaneously simulate fluid flow in an ecosystem containing both surface water and groundwater. Researchers applied the modeling approach to the Disney Wilderness Preserve in Kissimmee, Florida, where active field monitoring and measuring are ongoing to understand hydrological and biogeochemical processes.



Dick Smith in PNNL proteomics lab

Dick Smith Featured in Special Journal Issue

Congratulations to Richard (Dick) D. Smith, who was featured in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. He was the focus for this issue for his contributions to "Advancing High Performance Mass Spectrometry." The issue's editorial celebrates his's accomplishments as Battelle Fellow, Chief Scientist, Biological Sciences Division, and Director of Proteomics Research at PNNL. He received the Society's 2013 Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry Award.



Justin Teeguarden's BPA Study Featured in WSJ Editorial

The February 11 issue of the Wall Street Journal included an editorial, "Snoopy is Safe After All," triggered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory toxicologist Dr. Justin Teeguarden's recent study on bisphenol A (BPA) and the recent PNNL news release pointing to the study. The research appeared in the scientific journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and was conducted by a research team that included Dr. Dan Doerge, Mona Churchwell, Nathan Twaddle, Jeff Fisher and Xiaoxia Yang, National Center for Toxicological Research; and Dr. Liesel Seryak, Ohio State University. News articles about the study and the conflicting views over BPA's health impacts are also scheduled to appear in Scientific American and Newsweek, among others. 



image of bowl of tomato soup

Man trumps dog: Earlier assumption about BPA exposure confirmed

Coating the mouth with BPA-containing food does not lead to higher-than-expected BPA levels in blood, a study in Toxicology & Applied Pharmacology shows. The authors, including PNNL's Justin Teeguarden, conclude that oral exposure does not create a risk for high exposures. BPA, or bisphenol A, is used in some plastics and to seal canned food containers against contamination.



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